Two more people have been arrested in connection with a methamphetamine lab operation found late Thursday night in downtown Brainerd, and authorities say more arrests are possible.
Crow Wing County Sheriff's Sgt. Joe Meyer said officers with the Lakes Area Drug Investigative Division on Tuesday arrested Scott Jackson, 45, and Leonard Linehan, 48 for their role in the meth lab.
Both men are being held in the Crow Wing County Jail pending formal charges of felony first-degree manufacture of a controlled substance.
Meyer said charges against Jackson and Linehan are expected to be filed Thursday.
Officers arrested Kyle Delane Johnson, 28, soon after executing a search warrant early Friday at the downtown apartment, located on the 700 block of Laurel Street above the Iron Rail Bar and Saloon.
Johnson was charged in Crow Wing County District Court on Tuesday with felony first-degree attempting to manufacture methamphetamine.
According to the statement of probable cause filed with the court:
About 11:10 p.m. Thursday a confidential reliable informant informed Meyer that a methamphetamine lab was located in Jackson’s downtown apartment. The informant told Meyer that Johnson was involved in the meth lab, that there had been a fire but that the fire had been put out.
Because of the health and environmental hazards with the production of meth, Meyer asked Brainerd Police officers to do a welfare check on the residents of the apartments in the building. When they entered the stairway to the apartments officers immediately noticed strong chemical odor.
A police officer knocked on Jackson’s apartment door, Jackson answered and then walked back into the apartment at sat on a couch. Officers also saw Johnson in the apartment. Although originally in the kitchen area, Johnson sat down at a coffee table near a large kitchen knife and an unidentified metal object. An officer asked Johnson to step outside to speak with another officer and then asked Jackson if he could enter the apartment to move the knife to a safer location. Jackson said that was fine.
As officers moved the knife from the coffee table to the kitchen sink they noticed, in plain view, a bottle of muriatic acid, a dismantled AA battery and a plastic baggy that contained another dismantled lithium battery. The officers recognized the items as being used in the manufacture of meth and contacted Meyer, who obtained a search warrant for the apartment.
During a search of the apartment, Meyer and a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent located numerous items consistent with the manufacture of meth — a pill blister pack with and a receipt for the purchase of pseudophedrine pills, two starter fluid can with the bottoms pinched open to drain the contents, a white coffee grinder with white powder residue in it and a plastic bag in the freezer with a strip of lithium in it.
Outside of the apartment, more items were located in a Dumpster and a white garbage can was sitting outside the Dumpster. In the Dumpster the BCA agent found a plastic pitcher with what appeared to be the remnants of a burned coffee filter around the rim. Also found were a clump of frozen paper towels and miscellaneous garbage. These items were consistent with the information received that Johnson had thrown everything in the sink and soaked it with water to put out the fire. It is believed that Johnson then took the items to the Dumpster to dispose of the evidence of the meth lab.
Johnson is being held in the Crow Wing County Jail on $250,000 bail without conditions and $180,000 bond or bail with conditions. His next court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Jan. 19.
Johnson was making the meth, Meyer said, and needed others to buy the ingredients because of limits by law, such as on pseudophedrine. More arrests are pending for helping Johnson buy the products, Meyer said.
“Different individuals went out and purchased the ingredients necessary to make meth. When you do that it make you culpable for the crime of manufacturing meth,” Meyer said.
It was the first meth lab Crow Wing County authorities have busted since 2004, when county ordinances and state laws went into effect making the purchase of items used to make the drug more difficult.
“We’d hear rumors of it once in a while and I’d just cringe,” Meyer said. “When officers called me and started telling me what they were seeing in apartment and I knew what it was. It was something I didn’t want to hear. Unfortunately people are still trying to do this stuff.”
Meyer noted that officers had to evacuate the building and the Iron Rail so the equipment being used to make meth could be dismantled and the chemicals disposed. The Brainerd Fire Department assisted in decontaminating the building and the Salvation Army helped residents find other places to stay for the night.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.